Friday, 17 January 2014

Letter 121: The GE countdown continues; Osborne on NMW, banker bonuses & peanuts

Dear Dave
Gosh it really IS election time isn't it? Last week, LibDems were grumbling because you seemed keen to nick their ideas on fairness. Sneaky. Then today just as Ed Miliband was spellchecking tomorrow's major speech on the Economy, George Osborne rushed in to announce that your Party would back a proposal to increase in the National Minimum Wage from £6.31 to perhaps, maybe, or even possibly, £7 by October 2015.

Well, whoop-de-woo. Though George may think he's stolen everyone's thunder, it's not enough. Far from it. How generous is he really being, when the NMW has been cut by 5% in real terms since 2010 and besides, you'll end up getting a fair bit of that money back into Treasury coffers since, once the NMW goes up, benefits for the working poor go down?

As your Chancellor works hard to show who's side he's on, here's a sobering thought: in April 2013, a minimum wage earner would need to work 380 hours a week to match the annual salary of a top earner on the 99th percentile. I doubt 69p extra an hour is going to shave many hours off that figure, nor distract too many of us from bonus season and tax avoidance.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Letter 120: Combover Cronyism, because David Cameron's worth it

"Dear Dave,
Several years ago, my mother-in- law received an MBE for services to counselling. It was generally agreed that, for her commitment to people struggling with PTSD, she richly deserved recognition. I asked her what she thought of your barber receiving the same award for services to (your?) hairdressing... But after reading that a number of senior Conservatives and party supporters were also recognised in the New Years Honours List, maybe instead I should have asked the people delivering your takeaway. I bet they're gutted that they weren't remembered too.

With best wishes, etc"